German league digging in to finish the season

Robert Lewandowski (L) of Bayern Munich vies with Josuha Guilavogui of Wolfsburg during a German Bundesliga match in Munich, Germany, Dec. 21, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)

The German Football League (DFL) has expressed its determination to finish the 2019/2020 season.

The DFL board told the 36 first and second division clubs that it intends to continue its efforts to organize games behind closed doors relying on a minimum of staff after an emergency meeting this Tuesday afternoon.

The board recommended a further delay due to the coronavirus crisis until at least April 30. The clubs are expected to support the proposal at their next general meeting on March 31.

A finish to the season by the end of June remains the primary goal, the associations said. The DFL announced it was working on plans to run games with the lowest possible number of people involved.

Games behind closed doors are the most likely option.

Fredi Bobic said that Bundesliga clubs might have to get ready to play games every day as soon as it is possible. The 1996 European Champion and current sporting director of Eintracht Frankfurt underlined: "In the worst case, we have to play every day to get this done."

Despite growing infection figures and strict rules, the league association is digging in to avoid an early-season end by all means.

Critics speak of senseless salami tactics. In a first decision, the season was interrupted until April 2.

The league association is meanwhile talking about having gained time.

Cologne CEO Alexander Wehrle, Peter Peters (Schalke 04), Jan-Christian Dreesen (FC Bayern), Oliver Leki (SC Freiburg), Stefan Schneekloth (Holstein Kiel), Rudiger Fritsch (Darmstadt 98), Oke Goettlich (St. Pauli), DFL CEO Christian Seifert and DFL director Ansgar Schwenken said the decision was made unanimously.

Always considering new developments, the postponement opens doors for several options the panel pointed out. The DFL said it would go on trying to secure every one of the 56,000 jobs in football, not including the players.

Regular training sessions aren't possible at present. Most sides count on a home training session to keep a certain fitness level.

Several clubs have been unable to set up small training groups after gatherings of more than two people have been prohibited by health authorities throughout the country. The state of Bavaria has even stricter instructions.

The Berlin-based prestigious virologist Christian Drosten said German football would have to live with games behind closed doors until spring next year.

Meanwhile, several clubs announced their playing staff has accepted and initiated substantial wage cuts.

2012 German Champion Borussia Dortmund said the Blacks and Yellows will benefit from a two-digit million amount due to the cuts.

In addition to Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Schalke 04, RB Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Moenchengladbach, and VfL Wolfsburg players have also announced that they would accept salary cuts. Bayern performers are said to take cuts of 20 percent.

All clubs announced to use the savings to secure the jobs of the rest of the staff at the clubs.

The German internationals Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka have set up an initiative supporting health projects. The Bayern Munich performers' "we kick corona" project has already collected over 3 million euros.